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October 2010 Archives

Naked Ghouls Reading
7 p.m. Friday at Studio L'Amour; $20 (reservations required)
There are so many great Halloween-themed shows this week, but we want to highlight this one because, well, what's not to like about Naked Girls Reading? The ever-popular series returns, with all the gore (and bad puns) that you'd expect from a Halloween edition of the series. This month, the unclothed literati will favor us with selections from the spooky and the gross section of the library. Don't miss Cherokee Rose, a Naked Girl who will be Reading tarot.

Bob Dylan
7:30 p.m. Saturday at Riviera Theatre; $60
Like a force of nature, Bob Dylan just keeps rolling on. A few months shy of his 70th birthday, the greatest songwriter of the 20th century remains a force to be reckoned with a decade into the 21st. His Never Ending Tour continues to live up to its name and just out are a pair of albums generating massive buzz: a collection of demos from his first years in New York City and the first CD release of his first eight mono LPs. At one point, Dylan had a rep for delivering wildly uneven results live – either transcendent or mail-it-in bad – but he's seemed more energized lately and is one of the true must-sees.

North Halsted Halloween Parade
4 p.m. Sunday starting at Belmont and Halsted; free
Find crazy costumes and even crazier behavior as the best of Boystown let their hair down for the day. This year, the theme is "Little Street of Horrors" and the event will be emceed by the incomparable Miss Floozie. Think you're creative? Test yourself in the costume contest after the parade. There will be over $5,000 in costume contest cash and prizes.
More: Find all Halloween events.

Ghostface Killah
8:30 p.m. Sunday at Abbey Pub; $20-$22
If there were ever to be a perfect performance scenario, it would have to be Ghostface Killah performing on Halloween. The veteran Wu-Tang alum has always been a fan favorite, and his crafty lyricism and vivid storytelling abilities have placed his name right up there with the legends. Lately Ghosface has kept a relatively low profile, but his last project, Wu-Massacre, with Raekwon and Method Man, has propelled him back into the spotlight. His performance at Abbey Pub will likely be in promotion of Wu-Massacre as well as last year's Ghostdini Wizard of Poetry, but as we all know it's past classics from Ironman, Supreme Clientele and Fishscale that'll turn the Abbey into a Halloween destination.

Walk of Shame Halloween Party
11 a.m. Sunday at Faith & Whiskey; $35
Shake off the Halloween party cobwebs at this catered, open bar party in Lincoln Park. All food and drinks are provided for five hours, and you get five bucks off if you show up in your costume from the night before.

Just missed the cut: JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound, Watermelon Slim & The Workers, Death Toll: A Drinking Game, Clean Halloween

A Chicago Set Show Provokes Controversy

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Recently, Marie Claire blogger Maura Kelly wrote a well-thought out, thoroughly researched and compassionate piece entitled “Should "Fatties" Get a Room? (Even on TV?)” Despite never having seen CBS sitcom “Mike and Molly,” a show revolving around a plus-size couple, she used the series as a jumping off point to make astute observations such as “I'd be grossed out if I had to watch two characters with rolls and rolls of fat kissing each other,” and “I find it aesthetically displeasing to watch a very, very fat person simply walk across a room — just like I'd find it distressing if I saw a very drunk person stumbling across a bar or a heroine (sic) addict slumping in a chair.”

“Mike and Molly,” set right here in Chicago, follows a policeman and a teacher who meet through overeaters anonymous and embark on a romance. Born in Plainfield, Illinois and graduated from Joliet Catholic Academy, lead actress Melissa McCarthy is well equipped to play a Chicagoan of any size. But size takes center stage in the series and in Kelley’s strongly worded blog post.

Although Marie Claire is usually seen as one of the more body positive publications, its Editor in Chief Joanna Coles seems to support Kelly, calling her a “very provocative blogger,” as opposed to an insensitive fatophobe, and adding “this is a subject she feels very strongly about.” Interestingly, many others feel strongly about the subject as well, specifically those compared to drug addicts and told to stay seated rather than walk past a thin person.


Mayer Hawthorne & The County
7:30 p.m. at Subterranean; $17
With his confident onstage demeanor and smooth velvety voice, Andrew Cohen (aka Mayer Hawthorne), has quickly become one of Stones Throw’s most popular artists. Since his first performance in Chicago at the darkroom, Cohen has done a good job embracing the character of Hawthorne, which initially started out as a tongue-in-cheek way to impress close friends. His last performance at North Coast Music Festival was particularly impressive as he displayed a knack for controlling a large-scale crowd without compromising his laidback MO. At this point in his career it seems like fans are ready for Cohen to take things up a notch, and his performance at Sub-T will be a perfect place for him to do so. (J. Min)

2:30 and 8 p.m. at Broadway Playhouse; $33-$97
"Traces" features several boys and one girl performing acrobatic feats in a grungy faux loft while wearing pinstripe pants and white shirts, as if this is just what they do after they're done being paralegals. Watch out for the male pas-de-deux, which combines sweaty badassery with the kind of homo-eroticism that even straight people can enjoy.

Marshall Krenshaw
8 p.m. at SPACE; $17-$20
The makers of 1987's "La Bamba" were careful to get the music right in their film bio of Ritchie Valens, with Los Lobos supplying the playing for the title character and Marshall Crenshaw doing a spot-on take on Buddy Holly. Nearly 25 years later, Crenshaw remains one of the preeminent purveyors of buoyant, old-school pop with hooks that bury themselves in your head and wry wordplay. Talented local singer-songwriter Phil Angotti opens. (Mike Clark)

Bonnie Jo Campbell on Beginings and Endings

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Perhaps the most gratifying benefit of being a Pluitzer Prize winning blogger (an award granted to me in 1988 by Jamie Pluitzer for most gummy worms consumed in one sitting) is having the opportunity to ask people I admire questions I want answered. Recently, I spoke with Pushcart Prize winner and National Book Award Finalist, author Bonnie Jo Campbell about her background, writing process and powerful short story collection, “American Salvage.”

Our Town Did you always want to write?
Bonnie Jo Campbell From the time I was in high school, but when you’re young you don’t have anything to write. I went around trying and then gave it up and studied mathematics in a PhD program, but all the while I kept writing. Just about the time I was succeeding in math, ready to start a career as a mathematics teacher or mathematician, I started figuring out how to actually write, so I gave up the whole math thing.
OT Are the two capacities related?
BJC Most of higher mathematics [involves] proofs, and somehow that analytical process of getting through proof after proof helped me with working a story through. Writing is so wrapped up in ego, but with math one is just trying to get it right, although you’re often wrong. I think math helped me become a good critic of myself, come at writing a little less personally.

So You Think You Can Dance Live Tour
7:30 p.m. at Allstate Arena; $50-$67
Past champ Russell Ferguson returns to headline the cast from the fifth season as they make a stop in Chicago during a grueling 40-city tour.

LCD Soundsystem
Riviera Theater; $41
This is happening. Producer extraordinaire James Murphy brings his dance beats and quirky rhythms to the Riv for what promises to be an upbeat, if not incredibly bizarre, show. Hot Chip opens.

Free Theater
Various locations
This is the last week of a national campaign to introduce people to the theater. Tonight, you can see a variety of shows, including a few different offerings from Comedysportz Theatre. Check out your options here.

Death Toll: A Drinking Game
11 p.m. Friday-Saturday at Cornservatory; $10-$20
Get splattered and plastered at this brilliantly moronic distillation of the Halloween season. It's a game, and it's simple: Watch a series of ultra-violent sketches. Whenever a character bites it, drink. BYOB and plenty of it. The body count in the Cornservatory will be high.
More: Halloween theater guide.

Deerhunter, Real Estate, Casino vs. Japan
9 p.m. Friday at Metro; $19
Atlanta's Deerhunter kicks out the most blissfully disturbing sounds on this neo-chill wave bill. Lead man Bradford Cox recently cut his finest lyrics to date, inspired by the "sad" way in which we can "digest" our memories as we please, most likely playing heavily from recently dropped Halcyon Digest. Real Estate, not too keen on the twisted metaphors, rolls on mid-eve with a taste of their Jersey Shore relaxitude, combining beach-comber guitars with floating choruses from their best-of '09 charting self-titled debut. Opener Casino Versus Japan is a ringleader of the Intelligent Dance Music boom, serving up a dream ambient segue into the night’s chill vibe.

Chicago International Children's Film Festival
All weekend at the Center on Halsted, Facets; $6 for kids, $9 for adults
Now that the Chicago International Film Festival is over, the kids take over. See host of films for all ages, chosen by a child-led jury. Check out the schedule of weekend screenings, workshop dates and info on the opening and closing events. Kids can also participate in the Young Chicago Critics Program and tell everyone what they think.

9 p.m. Sunday at Lincoln Hall; $13
After gaining popularity with U.K. label BBE, the hip-hop duo Phantogram (Joshua M. Carter and Sarah D. Barthel) recently signed with Barsuk Records in order to reintroduce themselves to fans here in the U.S., and so far the response has been overwhelmingly positive. Their show at Lincoln Hall will be in promotion of their latest album Eyelid Movies, but don't be surprised if they come to the stage with a set of new material from a forthcoming EP. Opening for Phantogram will be Why? drummer Josiah Wolf, who is also promoting an album entitled Jet Lag.

The Nervous Breakdown's Literary Experience
6:30 p.m. Sunday at Cary's; free
Our favorite arts blog comes to Chicago for a free reading. The event is emceed by Gina Frangello (Slut Lullabies) and contributors include Rob Roberge (Working Backwards from the Worse Moment of My Life), Mathew Frank (Barolo), Davis Scheiderman (Drain) and Zoe Zolbrod (Currency).

Just missed the cut: Zion I, The Ladies & Gentlemen, Whistler Soul & Funk Party, Pistol Pete Band, The Other Cinderella, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Ghostbox.

Halloween Fun

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I’ve been looking for a way to earn a little extra cash. I know what you’re thinking: isn’t an “MFA in Creative Writing” essentially an American Express black card? And blogging, that’s almost as lucrative as teaching, right? What use could I possibly have for more money? Greedy me, but lately I’ve been daydreaming about having enough toothpaste to brush all of my teeth, maybe even enough for a toothbrush, my index finger is rubbed raw. I was sitting at my cardboard box, typing on my manual typewriter when it hit me, it’s almost Halloween and moneymaking opportunities abound! Maybe you’ve heard about the 63rd St. Beach Haunted House. Historic and picturesque, it overlooks the lakefront, but on select days, October 22nd through October 30th, it’s set to go goulash. (I actually meant ghoulish, but I’ve run out of whiteout so please just proceed.)leafblower.jpg

Sam Friend
7:30 p.m. at Mayne Stage; $10
Florida-bred singer/songwriter Sam Friend schooled himself in jazz at the University of Miami before hitting the indie-rock yellow brick road from Seattle to Brooklyn and back to cut sophomore effort Lady Madly. The effort laces Friend's Shins-y vocals and frantic improvisational education with bits of strings, horns and wide-hooked guitars aimed at all things pop, with sweet-sad numbers with names like "Mister Huggins" and "Smile for the Camera." (Gavin Paul)

8:30 p.m. at Apollo Studio Theater; $12-$20
Supernatural, psychological or just plain strange? This new one-act, which looks like the Orpheus myth filtered through “The Ring,” splices video with live actors, telling the story of a woman using a transistor radio to search for her dead husband.

Tecmo Bowl Championships
7 p.m. at Finn McCool’s; free
Go old school with the championships of this month-long competition to see who has the best Nintendo football skills. The winner gets a trip to the 2011 college football national championship game. Our Town tip: Play with the Raiders. Bo Jackson is a beast!

Lurrie Bell & Mississippi Heat
7 p.m. at Fitzgerald’s; $40
Per an annual fundraiser for the Mental Health America of Illinois dubbed "Jammin' Away the Blues," Lurrie Bell (son of harpist Carry) carries on his family trade with award-winning – 2007's Living Blues magazine’s Most Outstanding Guitar Player – spiritual soul. Bell's music taps into the healing backbone of the genre to support the MHAI's "Changing Minds, Changing Lives" program. Simply Renee & The Blue Notes open.

Dracula: A Tragedy
7:30 p.m. at Redtwist Theatre; $15
Get in the Halloween spirit by cozying up to the Lord of the Night. Drac shows are often rather large affairs, but this new adaptation of the Bram Stoker novel promises a greater intimacy. In fact, given Redtwist's famously parlor-sized performance space, you might end up sitting in the bloodsucker's lap.
More: Check out our Halloween guide.

Sankai Juku
7:30 p.m. at Harris Theater for Music and Dance
Columbia College and the MCA bring this Butoh (absurdist Japanese dance style) performance called Hibiki: Resonance from Far Away.

Believe If You Like, But Please Stop Singing

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stb 5868.jpgI’ve seen two plays in two weeks, both referencing that Journey song, the one that catches in your head like “It’s a Small World’s" older, cigarette-smoking cousin. Just mentioning it flirts with danger; acknowledge the title and I can kiss the next forty-eight hours goodbye. You know the song. Blaring from every summer street fair, it closed arguably the most influential series in TV history. Even Ellen Page took a crack at it in what I choose to think of as a thinly veiled message to those waiting for her to emulate the first Ellen…if you know what I mean. Who ever thought a 1981 power ballad would influence America’s 21st century art-makers?
Last week I blogged about playwright Lisa D’Amour’s “Detroit,” in which the song awkwardly appears, and today I talk to Scott Barsotti, whose inclusion of the hit in his new comedy, “McMeekin Finds Out” seems a bit more organic. A fitting point of reference for a play about a blue collar Pittsburgh family, the song dovetails nicely with McMeekin’s theme of forgiveness. Below, Barsotti discusses the play’s inception and impact. Beware of spoilers and that tenacious song.

Sufjan Stevens
8 p.m. Friday at Chicago Theatre; $45
Finally admitting that his 50-state, 50-album project was bogus – hey, at least he went out on Illinois – the Soofster is back, ditching his epic folk wisps for the assaulting digital landscapes of recent release The Age of Adz. The ear to the ground is saying it's all an allegory about the state of the media engine these days. But as always, many a biblical and Christian theme weaves about -- and things should be angelic as ever in the confines of the Chicago Theatre.

St. Pauli Girl Costume Contest
7-8 p.m. Friday at Tilted Kilt; free
Oktoberfest may be over in Germany, but St. Pauli Girl beer is keeping the party going in Chicago. Official spokesmodel Katarina Van Derham hosts a St. Pauli Girl costume contest at the Tilted Kilt. Ladies are encouraged to dress in their best barmaid costume and the top lookalike wins $250. The Sun-Times' own Elliott Harris is graciously helping judge. Specials include $4 St. Pauli Girl Lager.

8 p.m. Saturday at Logan Square Auditorium; $20
Of the seemingly endless brigade of Wu-Tang members and affiliates, Raekwon is one of the select few who tours on a regular basis. In the past couple years the master chef has made appearances at Paid Dues, Rock The Bells and Pitchfork, with a few smaller gigs on the side. His busy schedule has all been in celebration of his long awaited sequel, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx Pt. 2 (2009), which took nearly 15 years to complete. Opening for Rae will be a bevy of artists, including Chicago's own Mikkey Halstead.

Long Grove Oktoberfest
All day Saturday-Sunday at Old McHenry Rd. and Robert Parker Coffin Road
Come for the old-fashioned fun of a family carriage ride, German dancing, pumpkin decorating and children's activities. Stay for beer and brats and traditional German entertainment. The party starts at 10:30 a.m. Saturday with a parade. That's followed by family friendly events all day, culminating in a haunted walk and bonfire starting at 6:30 p.m.

Friday-Sunday at Greenhouse Theater Center; $12-$25
From Greek myths to urban legends, this show -- opening this weekend -- explores every messed-up thing that captured the human imagination without ever walking the earth. Teatro Luna, an all-Latina group that specializes in wickedly funny, soulful writer/performer shows should present a fast-paced and engaging night: something supernatural, without all the Halloween cliches.

Laurie Metcalf returns to Steppenwolf

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I would never have called “Detroit” a clusterf**k had I known its star stood behind me. Laurie Metcalf, most famous for her nine-year stint as Jackie on "Roseanne," has been a Steppenwolf ensemble member since 1976. Although a walloping stage presence, in person Metcalf looks like any other Chicagoan, or at least any incredibly petite Chicagoan with perfectly formed knees.

A Grandma, desperate to de-gay her 16-year-old grandson, turns tricks in order to pay for surgery she believes will make him straight. If someone came to you with this film pitch, what would you do? If you were writer Justin Palmer, you’d make it into a TV series, or rather, a mockumentary.

Along with Nathan Adloff and Danny Rhodes, Palmer is working to create a Chicago-based sitcom centered on Marcuss (Rhodes), a spoiled trust fund wannabe filmmaker, attempting to cast a film with just that wacky premise. Says Palmer, “Danny Rhodes brought [the idea] to the table and made us die laughing. We built it from there.”

Focused on the ongoing casting of Marcuss’ film, and featuring a weekly guest star, the series entitled “Bad Sides” has already managed to draw some famous names and a lot of community attention, but according to Palmer, that’s just the beginning.


X Japan
7:30 p.m. at Riviera Theater; $29
The biggest band in Japan made their debut stateside with a show at Lollapalooza over the summer. Now they’re back for a national tour. It’s hard to describe their sound, other than heavy metal mixed with piano solos. You’ll just have to see for yourself.

7:30 p.m. at Goodman Theatre; $19-$58
Renowned director Mary Zimmerman breathes new life into this play about the title character, a cockeyed optimist who travels the world and gets . Voltaire-inspired philosophizing ensues.

Riot Fest
8 p.m. at Double Door; $25
The five-day punk fest kicks off tonight with performances by Naked Raygun, The Effigies, The Subverts, Steve Bjorklund, Silver Abuse, Toothpaste and Rottenfinko and The Convicts.


Maybe it’s actor Lindsey Pearlman’s resemblance to my first babysitter, who carried me piggyback and fed me German chocolate cake, the crush who started it all. Maybe it’s the lip-syncing skills she showed off at the 2010 Mookie Jam, miming Pat Benatar, she put drag queens worldwide to shame. Or maybe it’s her Facebook presence, a modern blessing which cuts my work in half.

When I’m interested in Lindsey’s whereabouts, I no longer go to the trouble of tacking a tracking device to the underside of her car and following her from place to place (a difficult feat since I travel by bus).

That’s in the past though, because Lindsey knows I’m watching, so her status updates reflect her location, her opinions, her plans! Whether running her pet sitting business, rehearsing for upcoming shows, or courting her new love, stand-up comedy, Lindsey Pearlman makes herself known. And lucky she does, because she’s October’s Chicago Crush.


Prince Paul
9 p.m. at The Shrine; $10
For as much as De La is responsible for ushering in the Daisy Age, none of that would have been possible if not for the work of Prince Paul. His offbeat skits, bugged-out sense of humor and encyclopedic knowledge of breaks decorated De La's first three albums, which to this day stand as one of the most innovative bodies of work hip-hop has ever known. It's been a while since he’s been to Chicago, but the last time he was here he put on a set that covered everything from hip-hop and funk to deep house cuts and even a little classic rock. (J. Min)

6 p.m. at Museum of Contemporary Art; free
Local artist Paul Nudd leads this installment of the monthly free-form workshop for aspiring artists (as well as those of us with no artistic talent whatsoever). Materials and direction is provided. The imagination is up to you.

Perfume Genius, Sebastian Blanck
8 p.m. at Schubas; $10
Threaded about the audible foot-pedal thumps of Seattle-based singer-songwriter Perfume Genius are usually nothing more than his angelic – yet intensely raw – coo and maybe a scratchy synth line for warmth. But that's it. All that's left are some achingly tender anecdotes about writing letters to siblings and daughters holding their mothers, that float forever in the room like cathartic ghosts. New York baroque popster, Sebastian Blanck, and Chicago’s Mazes, open. (Gavin Paul)

Big Buck Hunter Championship
5 p.m. Friday and noon Saturday at Cubby Bear; $5 cover
Hunting season hits Chicago with the third annual Big Buck Hunter World Championships, the pinnacle of competition for this bar-friendly arcade game. Top players from around the world - including X-Games star Travis Pastrana - will attempt to shoot their way to $50,000 in prize money. The event is open to the public and features free game plays for spectators and raffle prizes, such as the new Big Buck Hunter Wii Game.

Oktoberfest Kickoff Party
5 p.m. Friday at Faith & Whiskey; free
Work your way through all 10 $3 Oktoberfest pints and receive a free $15 gift certificate to a Chinese restaurant. More decidedly German offerings include a free bratwurst buffet from 5pm-8pm; a $100 cash prize for the best Lederhosen wearer or German beer wench costume; and a "Germany's Best Video Power Hour" at 8 p.m. featuring clips ranging from The Hoff to Dirk Nowitzki to Claudia Schiffer, to the lyrical stylings of Rammstein (to keep it light).

Pacific Division
10 p.m. Friday at Subterranean; $13-$15
Hailing from SoCal, Pac Div has spent the better part of their young careers trying to carve themselves out a niche. Many have compared them to fellow up-and-comers The Cool Kids, but you'd be surprised how focused a vision they have as opposed to the straight party rap material. A strong buzz has been surrounding their newest album, Grown Kids Syndrome, and if the product lives up to the hype, it should pave the way for a big breakout year. Their performance at Sub-T will serve as an official album release party as well as a celebration for Ground Lift Media (now in its fourth year) and Jugrnaut clothing (third year). Opening will be talented lyricists Mic Terror and Que Billah.

Nightmares on Lincoln Ave Too - Totally Tubular Tales of Terror
8 p.m. Friday-Saturday at Conservatory; $7-$15
Quake, 1980s pop culture hegemony! The children of the '90s are on the rise. Kick off Halloween season with the latest show from the Cornservatory, which draws on the rich heritage of Nickelodeon, parodying beloved ephemera from "Troll 2" to "Are You Afraid of the Dark" to "Goosebumps." Pair with trick or treating for the perfect evening of regression.

Fork, Cork & Style
Saturday at Arlington Race Track; $12
This tailgate-themed food and wine festival will feature unique dishes from America's best restaurants, chef cooking demonstrations by Emeril Lagasse and other celebrity chefs, a high-end wine tasting with 250 elite brands and innovative ways to dress up tailgating parties.

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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from October 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

September 2010 is the previous archive.

November 2010 is the next archive.

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